Tag Archives: Metso

Los Andes Copper engineers a Vizcachitas alternative

It is a combination of improved technology, reduced fine grind requirements and maintenance benefits that led to Los Andes Copper replacing the SAG and ball mill crushing circuit proposed in its Vizcachitas copper-molybdenum project preliminary economic assessment (PEA), with a three-stage crushing circuit that uses high pressure grinding roll (HPGR) technology in the tertiary crushing stage, according to Executive Chairman, Fernando Porcile.

In the middle of a prefeasibility study on the Vizcachitas project, Los Andes recently issued an update on the study progress.

A delay of PFS publication to the March quarter of 2021 due to the onset of COVID-19 impacting some of the metallurgical test work and field work at the project might have been the key takeaway for investors, but those in the mining technology game will be focusing on the revised process flowsheet being put forward at the Chile project.

One of the big changes was seen at the front end on the comminution side.

In the close to year since issuing the June 2019 PEA, and with the arrival of Porcile and his team, the company’s understanding of its orebody characteristics and the technology available to it as a new greenfield project owner has grown.

Porcile said the ore at Vizcachitas is very suitable to this energy efficient HPGR technology, with metallurgical test work showing an HPGR circuit can reduce the sensitivity to changes in hardness, providing a product that is more consistent in size. This will help reduce major process fluctuations downstream – where there have also been some changes.

The P80 target grind size of 240 microns hasn’t changed much – moving up to a P80 of 240-300 microns – but the SAG and ball mill circuit has been replaced with a three stage crushing circuit using secondary crushers in open circuit and HPGR as a tertiary crusher in closed circuit.

On the preliminary comminution process flowsheet, this includes the use of a Metso Superior™ MKIII primary gyratory crusher, feeding three Nordberg® MP2500™ cone crushers, which move into 40,000 t crushed ore bins. This material is then conveyed to two Metso HRC™ 2600 HPGRs.

Los Andes says the configuration of secondary cone crushers in an open circuit avoids the use of a coarse ore stockpile and recirculation conveyor belts – reducing dust emission sources – while the closed reverse grinding circuit allows less production of fines, which is helpful for the follow-on thickening and filtration stages.

On top of this, the secondary crushing and grinding plant in this setup is close to the primary crusher, which also reduces coarse ore conveying costs.

Porcile said HPGR technology has moved on a long way in the last decade and now represents a more reliable proposition than using the SAG and ball mill circuit previously proposed.

“There is much less risk associated with using HPGRs in a new operation,” he told IM. “Large SAG mills not only take up lots of space within the plant, they can also come with teething problems during start up.”

He added: “HPGRs used to come with lots of wear problems, meaning you had to replace the rollers often. The maintenance on them is that much better now; the rollers do not wear out as quickly and, when they do, you can easily replace them.”

On top of the obvious benefits in energy consumption that come with using HPGR technology, there are positives that can be felt further down the process flowsheet.

“We are very confident that HPGR is the best alternative for our project due to the nature and quality of our ore,” Porcile said. “We produce very little fines, which has an impact on the way we deal with tailings.”

The combination of a lack of fines and low presence of clays (mainly kaolinite) has helped filtration performance in test work, indicating that a dry-stacked tailings solution may be viable at Vizcachitas, Porcile said.

This could provide an up to 50% reduction in water consumption compared with the PEA at Vizcachitas. It could also see some 82% of water recovered throughout the process, in addition to a significant reduction in infrastructure requirements.

“We go from having infrastructure in two valleys in the PEA to one in the PFS,” Porcile said on the latter point.

One may think creating a dry-stacking operation at a 110,000 t/d throughput mine would prove costly and difficult, but the lack of fines and low presence of clays already mentioned means the process is a lot simpler to other dry-stacking projects currently on the table across the globe, according to Los Andes.

Test work to date has indicated that coarse material from the plant (plus-400 microns) could produce a cake with 14%-18% moisture through the use of belt conveyors. This material currently makes up 87% of the envisaged tonnage.

Only 13% of tonnage classed as fines (less than 400 microns) would have to go through pressure filters to produce a 16-19% moisture cake, according to the company.

Porcile says these belt filters work just as well as pressure filters on the coarse material from Vizcachitas but are that much more cost effective.

“Belt filters come with high filtration rates, are low cost (in terms of capex) and are reliable,” Porcile said. “In the study, we envisage saving pressure filters only for the very top level of material.”

While it is too early to talk about the impact these changes will have on the capital expenditure and net present value numbers to be included in the PFS, expect the $1.87 billion and $1.8 billion (after tax and with an 8% discount), respectively, to change.

Metso goes modular with new crushing and screening plants

Metso is introducing two new modular “game-changing solutions” for mining crushing and screening plants that, it says, will provide significant resource and time savings for mines.

The flexible FIT™ stations and the smart Foresight™ stations offer a wide range of flexible solutions with ease of maintenance and time savings for any operation, according to the company.

Guillaume Lambert, Vice President, Crushing Systems at Metso, said: “We have the experience in delivering crushing and screening plants with over one hundred installations globally. We also understand the needs of customers today in the evolving industry. That is why we are using our legacy and expertise to introduce these modularised crushing stations that focus on capital expenditure reduction and shorter lead times.”

The FIT stations are designed with a focus on speed and flexibility. There are two stations to select from – Recrushing station and Jaw station. The steel structures are supplied in modules that fit easily into containers for transportation, according to the company, which also reduces on-site welding usually required and allows for quicker start-up. Container delivery reduces delivery time by up to 25% compared with similar crushing and screening plants, while erection time is also reduced by up to 15%.

The Foresight stations are equipped with smart automation technology including Metso Metrics™, VisioRock™, level sensors and crusher variable frequency drive. These features enable optimised crusher speeds, preventative maintenance and optimised production levels up to 6,000 t/h, the company says. The MP cone crusher station features a scalping MF™ screen and an MP™ Series cone crusher.

Both stations come with proven Metso equipment and technology to deliver maximum productivity for even the most demanding mining applications, the company said.

Metso engineering work steers Almonty towards production at Sandong tungsten project

Metso, in the face of COVID-19 restrictions, has kept Almonty Industries’ Sandong tungsten project in South Korea on track, completing and delivering the basic engineering work for the crushing and grinding circuit of the process plant.

Almonty said the work was delivered on May 15 and is now under review by the technical team, with approval expected within two weeks.

The overall process flowsheet with process mass balance, equipment list, plant layout drawings, process control philosophy, control diagrams and general technical information were provided after five months of extensive work by Metso, in collaboration with Almonty’s technical team, it said.

Ore characterisation tests on drop weight, bond mill work index, abrasion and crushability were conducted at the Metso laboratories during 2019 and 2020 in order to determine the physical properties, mineral liberation and comminution indices of the ore, which were used as the basis for the design criteria of the equipment for the Sangdong processing plant, it said.

“The Metso equipment selected for the basic engineering is from the world-class product range, which provides for high availability and low operational costs,” Almonty said.

Almonty’s Chairman, President and CEO, Lewis Black, said: “We appreciate Metso and its specialised professionals for their intensive work and dedication in the past months to produce this meaningful basic engineering output, turning its second-to-none experience and expertise in the mining field to the most optimum design criteria for the equipment and process of the Sangdong plant.

“Despite the hardship set by COVID-19, the timely delivery of Metso’s basic engineering work on these critical processing units and long-lead items, such as crushers and mills, will enable Almonty to meet the critical path timeline of the Sangdong project as proposed for the KfW-IBEX Bank project financing.

“The comprehensive and thorough basic engineering work produced by Metso will surely serve as the basis of attaining the performance criteria of the plant guaranteed by Metso.”

Almonty is currently running a pilot plant at Sandong (pictured) to test out the flowsheet on a much smaller scale, but the aim is to build the beneficiation plant this year before moving into tungsten concentrate powder production in 2022.

Metso and Outotec establish business areas and leaders ahead of merger completion

With Metso and Outotec having recently cleared one of the final remaining hurdles towards merging the two companies, the future Metso Outotec Board of Directors has laid out the planned company structure and related executive team appointments.

The nominations will become effective after the closing of the partial demerger of Metso and the combination of Metso’s Minerals business and Outotec, which is currently expected to take place on June 30, 2020, subject to receipt of all required regulatory and other approvals, including competition clearances – which the companies made significant headway on recently.

The companies said: “Combined, the future Metso Outotec will be a forerunner in sustainable technologies, end-to-end solutions and services for the minerals processing, aggregates, metals refining and recycling industries globally. The new organisation is designed to leverage the strengths and expertise of both companies.”

Metso Outotec will consist of the following six business areas:

  • Aggregates, providing crushing and screening equipment for the production of aggregates;
  • Minerals, providing equipment and full plant solutions for minerals processing, covering comminution, separation and pumps;
  • Metals, providing processing solutions and equipment for metals refining and chemical processing;
  • Recycling, providing equipment and services for metal and waste recycling;
  • Services, providing spare parts, refurbishments and professional services for mining, metals and aggregates customers; and
  • Consumables, providing a comprehensive offering of wear parts for mining, metals and aggregates processes.

The boards have also made some significant decisions on the key personnel that will lead these business units.

Markku Simula will become President of the Aggregates business unit. Simula currently serves as President, Aggregates Equipment at Metso.

Recently appointed Metso Mining Equipment President, Stephan Kirsch, will become President of the combined Minerals business area.

Jari Ålgars, currently CFO at Outotec, will become President of Metals.

Uffe Hansen, who is currently President of Recycling at Metso, will become President of Recycling at Metso Outotec.

Metso’s Sami Takaluoma will retain his President of the Consumables business area post at the new merged entity.

Markku Teräsvasara, who currently serves as the President and CEO at Outotec, will take on the President, Services and Deputy CEO role at Metso Outotec.

In addition to the business area president appointments, the following function heads and executive team members have been appointed:

  • Eeva Sipilä, CFO and Deputy CEO. Her appointment was announced on July 4, 2019. She currently serves as the CFO and Deputy CEO at Metso;
  • Nina Kiviranta, General Counsel. She currently serves as General Counsel at Outotec;
  • Piia Karhu, Senior Vice President, Business Development. She currently serves as Senior Vice President, Customer Experience at Finnair. She will join the company on July 1, 2020; and
  • Hannele Järvistö, Senior Vice President, Human Resources (interim). She currently serves as Senior Vice President, Human Resources (interim) at Metso. “This appointment is valid until a new position-holder has been selected and will start in this role,” the company said.

All the function heads and executive team members will report to Metso Outotec’s future President and CEO, Pekka Vauramo (pictured), the company said.

Reflecting on these changes, Vauramo said: “Above all, Metso Outotec will be strong in sustainability. Our extensive combined offering for minerals processing, from equipment to a broad range of services, will help our customers improve their profitability and lower their operating costs and risks, while at the same time reduce the consumption of energy and water.

“We at Metso Outotec understand our customer’s world and the daily challenges they face. Together, we will partner for positive change.”

Metso’s Trelleborg facility to press ahead with mill lining additions

Metso says it is expanding the range, sizes and types of consumable products it manufactures with the help of an “innovative, mega-size compress press”.

The move will develop its consumables product range and production capacity, especially in larger consumables wear sizes, it said.

The press, being installed at its Trelleborg factory in Sweden, can produce products, such as mill lining wear parts, that weigh up to 8 t. Production with the new press will start in May, it said.

The press to be installed is the first in a series of three similar machines with a total value of €10 million ($10.8 million), according to Metso.

Sami Takaluoma, President, Consumables business, Metso, said: “We are continuously developing our operations to improve our flexibility in fulfilling our mining customers’ needs globally.

“For our customers, the ability to acquire and use larger, high-quality consumables in the process enables a longer operating time and reduces the time required for maintenance work. The new press has been developed together with the supplier, and it utilises unique, innovative technology.”

The ongoing COVID-19-related travel restrictions and increased employee safety measures globally created a need to find a sustainable and safe way to install the new machine in the Trelleborg facility, Metso said.

The installation process is monitored remotely by the supplier with dedicated installation support hubs in Australia and China. Through a variety of headsets and video cameras, the installation team has been able to obtain continuous online guidance and instructions.

“In this challenging situation, we found a workable solution to stay on schedule,” Takaluoma said. “Thanks to the continuous support and detailed online guidance provided to the on-site team, the installation work has proceeded as planned and with safety measures maintained.”

Metso is a leading provider of rubber and poly-met mill linings and has a strong service network in all the main mining markets. The Trelleborg unit produces rubber and poly-met wear parts used in the mining industry.

Metso currently operates 11 factories manufacturing synthetic solutions globally, and it will open a new factory for mining consumables wear parts in Lithuania in 2020.

Metso Minerals orders hold up in face of COVID-19 impacts

Metso’s orders and sales held up in the March quarter in the face of the onset of COVID-19, with the company saying activity in its mining equipment business continued in line with expectations.

The company posted a 5% year-on-year increase in orders received to €1.07 billion ($1.15 billion), while its sales were unchanged at €832 million. Its operating profit dropped to €73 million, from €100 million a year earlier, but it was still able to generate free cash flow of €78 million during the three-month period.

Metso said the measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 started to have a material impact on its businesses and financial performance only towards the end of the March quarter. It was around this time that the company outlined its COVID-19 strategy.

“In February, the businesses and operations in China were affected but this impact was offset later, thanks to a fast ramp-up in March,” it said. “Quarterly orders from China were higher year-on-year, while the drop in sales will take longer to catch up.”

Lockdowns were introduced in mid-March in other countries, with the restrictions in India having had the biggest impact on Metso, it noted. There was some positive news, with, as of mid-April, operations in India and South Africa being permitted to ramp up.

In terms of customer demand, Metso said, from mid-March, the biggest COVID-19-related impact came from its aggregates equipment business, where customers and distributors significantly reduced their investments.

The mining equipment business, however, continued in line with expectations.

“The importance of the mining operations for many countries has been visible in the continued healthy demand for spare and wear parts,” Metso said, while noting that restrictions relating to travel and workforce mobility have had an impact on mining services by limiting service work carried out at customers’ mines.

Its Minerals business saw a 6% year-on-year jump in orders received in the March quarter, while services orders rose 5%. Growth of 8% in equipment orders was supported by the acquisition of McCloskey, it said, noting that mining equipment orders increased slightly against a high comparison period, “highlighting the healthy market activity.”

Metso reaffirmed that its partial demerger and the transaction to create Metso Outotec and Neles continue to progress according to plan, with closing currently expected to take place on June 30, 2020, subject to regulatory approvals.

Metso lines up LatAm tailings tests after setting up full-scale VPX filter in Brazil

Metso says it has started full-scale testing of its VPX™ filter for tailings dewatering in Brazil, with eight tailings tests lined up with companies that process iron ore, copper and gold.

In 2019, Metso launched Tailings Management Solutions (TMS), its response to the global challenge of managing mining tailings efficiently. The company sees the dewatering of waste as the future of mining, allowing the removal of water and its reuse in the plant, itself, or as part of restoration projects. Its VPX filter is part of this TMS platform.

With an operating pressure of up to 25 bar, the VPX can deal with difficult-to-dewater tailings and enable up to 90% water recovery, according to the company.

Metso says a full-scale VPX filter is now in place at its facilities in Sorocaba, Brazil, where the first tests from samples sent by several mining companies from Brazil and Latin America started in March.

“This is not a laboratory test, but filtration in industrial-scale conditions using VPX technology, which has the capacity to process high volumes of ores,” Rodrigo Gouveia, Metso’s Vice President, Tailings Management Systems, said. “Tailings dewatering is technically and economically a viable option for today and the future. Dry stacking is widely acknowledged to be the safest, most sustainable option for tailings storage. We see that there is a strong demand for short- and medium-term technical solutions.”

Fausto Rezende, Metso’s Mining Equipment Sales Director in charge of TMS in Brazil, said there is another potential application in the adoption of tailings management: legacy dams. “We can develop projects for the dredging and concentration of the tailings and, in many cases, it is possible that this operation is more economically viable than virgin ore,” he said.

Metso already has expertise in dewatering solutions and, depending on each mining application and customer needs, carries out engineering to determine the specifications for the most suitable dewatering technology. It can pick from lamella thickeners, hydrocyclones and filters to tailings stackers, through pumping solutions and conveyor belts.

Metso completes mill lining hat-trick with Discharge End Megaliner

Metso has once again flexed its R&D muscles, launching a new and innovative product that, it says, can speed up and improve the safety of one of the trickiest and riskiest processes mill personnel carry out.

The Discharge End Megaliner builds on the Metso Megaliner™ concept the company introduced in 2012. Designed to reduce downtime by minimising the number of parts and people inside the mill during a relining process, the Megaliner has so far been installed in over 30 mills around the world.

A Megaliner element integrates multiple lifter and plate rows and has a minimum number of attachment points. Covering an area several times larger than conventional liners, these liners are light weight in relation to their size and, with threaded bushings, enable safer and faster relining processes to be conducted.

The initial 2012 Megaliner launch saw these lightweight liner parts developed for the mill shell. In 2015, Metso expanded the lining concept to the feed end of grinding mills. The company is now ready to tackle the tricky mill discharge end to complete the hat-trick.

Anssi Poutanen, Vice President of Metso’s Mill Lining product line, said the mill shell was the obvious starting point in the Megaliner evolution.

“The shell represents the largest number of components to install so the potential for time savings for customers was large, hence why the Megaliner started there,” he told IM. “We have since extended to the feed end of the mill and now to the discharge end.”

The new product, which has been in the development pipeline for some time, according to Poutanen, is by no means just a bolt on to the existing Megaliner range.

“Even though the discharge section of the mill lining process is not as big from a volume perspective, the need for long bolts and a complex fixing arrangement in conventional installations makes it one of the most time-consuming and risky processes to carry out,” he said. “The Discharge End Megaliner is a highly valued addition to our Megaliner range as many of our customers struggle with the process.”

The conventional process Poutanen references here is worth spelling out.

With grate discharge mills – typically SAG, AG and ball mills – the conventional relining process at the discharge end usually involves removing the dischargers and grates, replacing with new lined versions and hammering in large, long bolts through the layers to secure the liner components.

“Even if modern recoilless hammers are used, it is still a challenge,” Poutanen said. “When the bolts become loose, they are hazardous and can potentially injure personnel.” In this process, personnel are also inside the mill – one of the most dangerous sections of the whole process plant.

On top of the large, long bolts, nuts are also required to fix the panels in place with conventional lining processes, adding up to multiple individual pieces and attachment points that must be fixed securely from inside the mill, Poutanen explained.

The Discharge End Megaliner, meanwhile, sees dischargers, grates and segments preassembled into one large unit. These are equipped with threaded bushings that are secured with “short bolts” from – very importantly – outside of the mill, he said.

This makes for an up to 50% faster lining installation using up to 70% fewer parts than the conventional process, according to Metso.

Poutanen says the new Discharge End Megaliner can be applied to any type of grate discharge mill – there is no prerequisite for Megaliner liners in the shell and feed end, for example – as long as there is a wide enough trunnion opening to remove and replace the liners, and a liner handler of sufficient capacity.

Metso is targeting the large end of the grinding mill market with this new development. The larger the mill, the greater the throughput, which has a direct impact on the costs associated with potential downtime caused by the relining process, Poutanen explained.

This has already been tested out at Boliden’s Aitik mine, in Gällivare, Sweden, which is currently undergoing an expansion to 45 Mt/y throughput.

The base metal mine already has Megaliner mill liners on the shell and feed end of both of its primary AG mills and has tested the new Discharge End Megaliner over nine months at one of these 38 ft (11.6 m) mills.

The Aitik trial has proven around 70% fewer parts are required compared with the conventional process. Relining has also been carried out much quicker and safer, according to Poutanen.

Similar to LHD operators being removed from the cab in order to remotely operate loaders in potentially unstable areas of underground mines, the ability to carry out the relining process from outside of the mill ‘danger zone’ could be considered an initial stage towards a fully automated relining process.

Poutanen agreed: “I think at some point, we will see a higher degree of automation. It is unlikely to be binary; it will be a gradual process.”

He said the combination of the Megaliner and Metso’s camera-based liner positioning system – which is offered to all Megaliner customers as an “add on” to the liner handling equipment – could help make the process more autonomous.

In order to be able to develop this kind of fully autonomous package, a close collaboration with customers and liner handler suppliers is required, he said. “I think we are still a few years away from having the process move to fully autonomous mode.”

Metso wins major mill lining order from Russian Copper Company

Metso is to supply SAG and ball mill linings for the facilities of Russian Copper Company’s (RCC) in-development Tominsky processing plant (TPP), in Russia.

The TPP is RCC’s biggest investment project and one of the largest scale and high-tech projects commissioned in Russia in recent years, according to RCC. The plant will be constructed at the Tominsky copper porphyry deposit and will have a capacity of 28 Mt/y of copper ore, producing up to 500,000 t/y of copper concentrate, the company said.

The Metso contract complements two earlier mill lining contracts for RCC’s Mikheevsky processing plant, signed in December 2019, the mining OEM said.

With a combined value of approximately €24 million ($26.1 million), the three orders have been booked for Metso’s March quarter 2020 (Tominsky) and December quarter 2019 (Mikheevsky) orders received, it said.

First shipments started already in March, with the RCC deliveries covering almost one year’s worth of mill lining needs, according to the company.

Alexey Muzychkin, Metso Senior Vice President in Russia and CIS, said: “We are proud to be part of the construction projects of RCC by providing reliable supplies of equipment and spare parts for their plants. We managed to meet the tight delivery schedule required to ensure the smooth operation of RCC’s production facilities.”

Vsevolod Levin, President of RCC, said: “RCC implements the best available technologies at its operations, as well as installs equipment from the world’s leading manufacturers. For this reason, Metso is our long-time reliable partner in implementing the most ambitious projects. This ensures superior operational performance of our enterprises, as well as the safety of technological processes for human health and environment.”

RCC was founded in 2004 and is now one of the biggest copper producers in Russia, according to Metso.

It is a vertically integrated holding company with operational assets in Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk, Orenburg, Novgorod, Khabarovsk (all in Russia) and Kazakhstan. RCC manages eight mining enterprises, a hydrometallurgical plant, three metallurgical plants, and a trading company. Together, they cover the complete production cycle, from mining and processing to production and sales.

The company produces copper concentrate, copper cathodes and copper rods, as well as zinc concentrate, refined gold, and refined silver, with its production facilities able to produce 220,000 t/y of copper cathodes and 235,000 t/y of copper rods, Metso said.

Metso invests in Arizona repair facility after stellar 2019 results

Metso has made further investments in its Mesa repair facility in Arizona, USA, in order to, it says, optimise safety and broaden service capabilities.

The facility offers repairs and field services while supporting Metso’s Life Cycle Services contracts. It has seen steady growth since the opening in 2015, with 2019 setting a record for safety performance, revenue and profitability, according to the company.

One of the many upgrades to the facility includes the installation of “a state-of-the-art stress relief oven”. This investment was made to offer a more complete service to customers on large rebuilds, Metso said. “This will improve quality control as well as accelerate the turnaround times for our clients,” the company explained.

In addition to the stress relief oven, Mesa has also invested in other equipment to support the repair of mining screens, Wet Low Intensity Magnetic Separator (LIMS) drums, and babbitted bearings for mills.

A screen test stand has been manufactured and will be operational by the end of March, the company said. This will allow each screen rebuilt at Mesa to be test-run before being sent back out into the field, which will reduce the potential for issues during installation and start-up, according to the company.

Equipment needed to repair LIMS drums was also put in place last year and has seen a steady inflow of repairs coming from mines in the Iron Range of Minnesota, the company said.

Metso said: “In the future, the facility aims to further grow its portfolio of value-added services, to improve productivity and reduce operational costs for its clients in both the mining and aggregates sectors.”